The Plinth, the Mall and Mason’s Yard

For today’s trip to the exhibitions I had a companion, my husband, but the bus was so slow we got off early and walked through Trafalgar square to have a look at Anthony Gormley’s One and Other which has caused a lot of chat. Unfortunately today the Modern Jesus Army had caused a lot of noise which took away from the spectacle of the fourth plinth. It was a man doing an oil painting of Trafalgar square. For some reason he looked better from the back, underneath, posed in front of his easel.

To the ICA, which happened to be near and slipped nicely into see Poor. Old. Tired. Horse. I thoroughly recommend you click on this link which is all about text in art, the concrete poets and Ian Hamilton Finlay who’s work is in the first room. A scale drawing of a fishing boat with notes of all the letters and numbers written on the side of the boat. We really enjoyed the typewriter art ‘Shooting the script’ by Carl Andre who did the bricks ..remember?  I suppose some people do still have typewriters in order to do the work. To get your own typewriter and try something similar would feel like copying but I’d like to try.

Husband was over the moon about FAINTGIRL and IGGY FATUSE, two posters from Janice Kerbel. The interesting thing about text art like this is you have to take time to read the text. You can’t take down the text and read it at home or buy a copy to read later, although sometime you feel as if you want to. No one reads it aloud to you either except maybe Bruce Nauman but he wasn’t included this exhibition. Text slows you down, the concentration is different somehow. People interacted with each other as they finished reading, saying ‘Wow if I’d typed like that I would have got the sack.’ If the page has a recognisable genre like the Faintgirl poster it’s easier to understand. If the text turns out not to say much it makes you feel let down. I felt a bit let down by well  …Frances Stark, I must explain, specify, rationalize, classify..   

Well which is it? Next we went to the White Cube to see Gilbert & George. The streets are so crowded in summer. Is London the centre of the world? Even the Mall had crowds of people walking either side and that’s a broad street. Once safely inside the hush of Mason’s Yard, we thought we just want to see the gallery. My partner had never been there, but I really love Gilbert & George. They are almost my neighbours since they eat every evening in the restaurant at the end of my road. Then they wait at the bus stop for the 67.

The work this time is composed of things that are so familiar and precious , the streets around Spitalfields, medals, branches of plane trees and their own bodies. Text appears in these pictures too: the titles like ‘Street Party’ that tell of a contemporary wry wit are part of the work. The artists wear suits covered in writing, some Bengali, some bits of the A-Z, some graffiti. The work shows compassion towards the communities that live around them, the way a small range of experiences can reflect our own nature.

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The Plinth, the Mall and Mason’s Yard

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